Resolute Support forces arrive at the site of a car bomb explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (Rahmat Gul/AP)
“We want to make sure we are negotiating a peace, not simply a withdrawal,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel said in a letter Thursday to Trump’s peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad.
Engel is demanding that Khalilzad, who has said the U.S. and the Taliban are on the threshold of a peace deal, come to testify before the House committee about the negotiations. The envoy was invited to appear Feb. 26 and April 8, but never responded.
While details are scant about the deal the administration appears close to approving, the rising violence has rattled Kabul, the capital, and other sites around the country.
“Peace with a group that is still killing innocent people is meaningless,” said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
“I would find it odd for Trump — based on how far this has gone — for him not to do it,” Blanc said. “My understanding is that the deal is very, very close to done. I would not be surprised if it’s a matter of days or a matter of weeks.”
He said he doesn’t believe the draft agreement includes a complete Taliban cease-fire, only a pledge to reduce violence.